TRANSFER GOSSIP ROUND-UP
We love some TUFC-related transfer gossip! See who’s been linked to a summer 2019 move to Plainmoor in our new feature by Marcus Arscott.
Marcus Arscott – @marcusarscott
“Every week, I will be bringing you a summary of players that have been identified on Yellows social media as possible summer signings. Each player will be graded 1-5 stars for both quality and likelihood of signing. These are not my suggestions; these are names that I and others have seen banded about on forums, Facebook and Twitter. Some are brilliant, some are just silly but hey, ‘tis the close season and speculation is rife”.
“It’s a striker-heavy edition this week because, well, they get the most attention at this point in the summer”.
1 – Manny Duku
With Johnson now only 10 months on from his job at Cheltenham Town, many eyes turned to their retained list when it was released less than a week ago. Johnson brought in many of these players, and they have gone on to varying degrees of success. One of the players touted is Immanuelson Duku.
Duku is a 26 year-old striker who joined Cheltenham on a two-year deal in July 2018. Prior to Cheltenham he spent 4 years playing in his native Netherlands, before joining Southern League Premier side Kings Langley in 2015. He went on to score 7 times in 44 appearances, before moving to Banbury United, scoring 2 in 12. It was his spell at Hayes & Yeading United that drew Johnson’s attention though, the striker scoring 33 goals in 39 appearances.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out as planned for Duku at Cheltenham. With Johnson’s premature departure certainly not helping matters, he made 11 appearances for the Robins, scoring only one goal. In October 2018, he was loaned out to Barnet where he scored 3 goals in 6 appearances. It was at Barnet where Manny found himself on the end of some negative press, when it was reported that he kicked the home dugout after being subbed off after 35 minutes. John Still partially defended him, saying that ‘I understand his frustration, but when it’s all over, come and see me, call me all the names under the sun… that’s fine’.
Does this point to an attitude problem? I don’t think so. We’ve seen countless United players show their frustration at being subbed off before, but we know this is simply the player’s passion shining through. As long as they’re not hurting anyone or undermining the manager’s authority, it’s fine in my book.
I’ve watched several videos, read up on forum posts/social media talk from previous clubs about Manny and it’s looking good. He is a big, physical forward but he doesn’t seem to be particularly short of pace. I don’t think he can act as a traditional target man, but have we not proved over the last season that we actually do not need one? Yes his record of late has been a little patchy, but if anyone is going to coach the best out of him, it’ll be GJ.
Quality – 3.5 / 5 Likelihood – 4 / 5
2 – Kabongo Thsimanga
Anyone who was fortunate enough to attend the 7-2 home win against Oxford City in late January will already be familiar with the name and the player. ‘Kabby’ has played every game for City this season, bagging 24 goals in 42 appearances (34 goals in all competitions). Thsimanga started his career at MK Dons in 2014, spending his time there out on loan to several different clubs until 2017 when he was released. He then went on to join Boston United. Whilst there, Kabby managed to net 8 goals in 34 appearances, before leaving at the end of the season to join Oxford City.
It’s safe to say that Thsimanga has been a revelation at City. It was announced recently that he had won the manager’s, players and fans player of the season awards, as well as coming in third place for the NLS golden boot. Unless he is under contract for next season (which I can’t find confirmation of but it seems unlikely) Thsimanga will surely be looking for a move up.
Unfortunately for us, when a player does that well at any level they will be getting serious attention from all over the place. This is where our historic problem of being miles away from anything comes into play. If GJ can get him down to Plainmoor and show him the facilities, the club, our history and the aims and objectives for next season, then maybe he could tempt him to try his hand at National League level. If we can get him here playing alongside Reid and playing in a similar system to the one we had last season, then I back him to be a 20+ goal striker, no problem.
Quality – 4 / 5 Likelihood – 3 / 5
3 – Tyler Harvey
A product of the Argyle youth academy, Tyler Harvey’s name will already be familiar to fans of Westcountry football, having had spells at Argyle, Bath and Truro since starting his career in 2012. Harvey has been with Truro since 2017 and it’s safe to say that he has impressed.
Yellows who were at the (brilliantly entertaining) Boxing Day game would have seen just what Harvey is capable of. He is certainly a leader of the line, not afraid to play solo up front, and was a constant threat regardless of how his team were performing. Like Thsimanga, Harvey is not your traditional target man but as I mentioned previously, do we really need one? He is quick and powerful with the ball at his feet and poses an aerial threat on set pieces as well.
His record this season speaks for itself, he finished fourth in the race for the NLS golden boot with 22 league goals. That is more than decent in any team, but in a team that has been struggling all season and eventually ended up getting relegated, those figures appear even more impressive.
The question being, is Tyler ready to step up to full time professional football? I ask this because ex-Truro manager Leigh Robinson said in March ‘It shouldn’t be as good a season as he’s having as his diet’s an absolute disgrace, but he’s a hell of a talent.’ Now this alone doesn’t constitute an attitude problem, but you must question why such a talented footballer is not looking after himself as a proper athlete should. It is promising, though, that he can score 22 league goals at this level whilst possibly not running at 100% of his potential.
The step up to full time professional football is massive. It’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. Is Tyler ready to make this step? I hope so, because he’s still got plenty of time to become one hell of a player.
Quality – 3.5 / 5 Likelihood – 4 / 5
4 – Jake Robinson
Everyone knows Jake right? We all know what he’s capable of and we all know that he scores goals for a past time, at NLS level anyway. Jake has quite a history in the game, having started his career in 2003 with Brighton & Hove Albion, scoring 13 times in 123 appearances. United fans will fondly remember his time at Torquay in 2011, when he scored 7 in 22 whilst on loan from Shrewsbury Town. Since 2012, Jake has took a bit of a step down league-wise, joining Whitehawk Town where he went on to score 37 goals over 2 and a half seasons.
He started grabbing headlines again in 2017 when he became a high-profile signing for then Isthmian League Premier side Billericay Town, where the striker scored 42 goals in 46 appearances. Halfway through last season, ‘Ricay threw a bit of a wobbly. Glenn sacked Harry Wheeler by text, Dean Brennan came in to replace him and Jake followed Wheeler to join Maidstone. His record of 2 goals in 11 appearances at Maidstone is unfair to judge him on. The team was in crisis and to say that they were struggling is putting it lightly. The Stones eventually sacked Wheeler, who then went back to Billericay (getting the band back together) and Robinson followed once again.
It’s clear that Jake has got it pretty sweet at the moment and that we’d have to push the boat out to have any hope of matching his current wages. Jake is 32, does he really need to prove himself at a higher level anymore? Probably not. If he was to make the step up to NL football again, I’m sure he’d do fantastically well under GJ and his way of playing. However, If the vajazzlers make him a decent offer then I’d expect him to stick around where he’s comfortable. Shame, really.
Quality 4 / 5 Likelihood 1.5 / 5
5 – Reuben Reid
A household name in every Westcountry football fan circle, Reuben has represented pretty much every professional football team in Devon and Somerset. Like Tyler Harvey, Reid got his start at Plymouth’s youth academy, making his professional debut in 2006.
Since then, Reuben has gone on to represent 14 other clubs with a pretty consistent level of success. He is now 30, but don’t let that scare you. This is a player still in his prime, he has scored more league goals in the last 4 years than the rest of his career combined. Most recently, he was at Exeter City from 2016-2018, scoring 20 goals in 57 appearances. He was then signed by Forest Green Rovers in January 2018 on a 2 and a half year deal for an undisclosed fee. Since then, Reid has gone on to score 13 goals in 43 for our favourite vegans.
Reid now finds himself as the only name on Rovers’ transfer list, with his contract running up until the end of next season. I’ve tried to find a reason as to why he dropped out of contention towards the end 18-19, but I’ve failed. The Rovers fans seem to be treating the decision with mild bemusement.
In my opinion, RR would be a very good signing at this level. He has all the traits that we are looking for, he has proven himself many times at league level and who doesn’t want to see a Reid/Reid partnership??
I guess the likelihood of this transfer depends on the fee that FGR are asking, and whether we can at least match Reid’s current wages. That may be a struggle.
Quality 4.5 / 5 Likelihood 3 / 5
6 – Saikou Janneh
Now, I know what you’re thinking; ‘Oi you idiot, he got recalled by City after we won the league, he’s well gone.’ Hang on, bear with me here.
Saikou is an incredibly hot prospect, anyone with even half a footballing brain can see that. This season at United was his first full professional season and he duly impressed. His partnership with Reid was the best that we’ve seen for a long time and it seemed to be getting better and better as the season went on. It’s also very easy to forget that he’s only 19, he’s got at least 5 or 6 years to go before he hits his prime and the City coaching staff know that they must do this properly in order for him to reach his full potential.
Is he ready to be playing at League 2 level yet? I’m not sure. I think, and I hope that the City academy staff agree with me here, that he could really benefit from at least half a season in the NL with familiar surroundings, teammates and coaching staff. Gary Johnson is obviously highly trusted by City and, if they’re looking to send Saikou to the NL anyway, why wouldn’t they choose us? All the signs say that Janneh hugely enjoyed his time at United and, given the opportunity, I’d like to think that he’d jump at a chance of coming back.
I wouldn’t write off the chances that we’ll see him back just yet and as it’ll be a loan deal, we probably won’t know for sure until we’re at least part way into the pre-season schedule. I for one, would absolutely love to see him back and challenge you to find one United fan who’ll disagree.